Friday, July 1, 2011


I'm in a funky mood. Maybe because it's Friday. Maybe it's because Miguel has plans to golf tomorrow and play soccer on Sunday and the weekend isn't looking very fun so far. He's been kind of enough to say, "when I get home you can go to the gym." And while I am happy about going to the gym I'd like a little more family time and also don't look forward to keeping the two kids busy by myself. It's not all by myself, on Saturday morning we have playgroup so that'll keep us busy all morning. And on Sunday I could take the kids to watch the second half of Miguel's game. We'll any case, I'm in a funk at the moment. Now how to not turn a funky mood into an evening of grazing is the question.

Oh, yes, it's Friday...weigh-in Friday. I lost a pound. There should be a set of exclamation points after that but I'll be honest, I was hoping for a bit more. Feeling disappointed over a weight loss is not like me. I have given umpteen lectures to people who engage in this ridiculous behavior. My head and my heart are just not in sync. In my head I am happy to have had a loss. I know that if I lose a pound a week, this time next year I'll be 52 pounds lighter and that would be AWESOME! And I am actually fine with that pace. Which is all the more reason why my blase attitude toward the pound weight loss doesn't make sense. Well, feelings often don't make logical sense. I think the first week 3 pound loss is also partly to blame. I was afraid it might set my expectations too high and I think it did a bit. Alright, let's just pretend I never wrote this paragraph.

I lost a pound!!! Yay me! I worked hard this week and saw results. More importantly, my clothes are fitting better and I am feeling better about myself. The pants I wore today were getting tight before and today they fit just right. I'm pretty sure I'm walking taller and I know my energy has increased significantly. And I got a compliment from my husband this morning. So altogether, in the four weeks since I got back on the wagon I've lost 4.5 pounds. And I bet I've gained some muscle. My arms and legs are already feeling firmer.

That line of thinking feels so much better. Throughout the day I thought about my morning reaction to the scale. At one point I wondered if I should go back on WW. But I know instinctively that I'm just not ready for that yet. What I'm doing now feels right, and it feels like enough. I do not want to overwhelm myself. And furthermore, I lost a pound for crying out loud! When I was on WW a pound loss was reason for celebration. Today is just an off day, I guess, because in my head I am really pleased and don't need to be looking to speed things up. I also thought about passing on weigh-ins for maybe a month, and just go with how I feel, how my clothes fit. I am seriously considering it. We'll see how I feel once this funk passes.

Whew, I feel a lot better getting all that off my chest. It's like it has freed up space in my brain so I can relax and be optimistic again. Ok, so the plan for this weekend includes two gym trips and at least one family outing. We're facing some hot temps this weekend so I'm thinking it might be time to hit the beach!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's a Big Deal Indeed

It's Thursday folks and I made it to the gym again today. So far that's five days this week. I think if I were doing my old two hour routines going to the gym this often might be too much but at an hour a pop I'm feeling good. My legs were hurting a little bit on the treadmill today but just a little. I did c25k Week 1/Day 6, which means I'm moving on to Week 2. The jog times increase but so do the breaks in between. Here's what Week 2 looks like:

5 minute warm-up walk
20 minutes of intervals, 90 seconds jogging, 2 minutes walking
5 minute cool down

So jogging goes up by 30 seconds (from 60 to 90 seconds) but the walking goes up by 30 seconds too (from 1.5 to 2 minutes). Seems very reasonable. We'll see how I feel when I do it. The plan is to take tomorrow (Friday) off from the gym and do my first Week 2 session with fresh legs on Saturday.

After c25k I had legs and shoulders. I did two sets of 8 squats, which felt ok and then did lunges. Man, those lunges are killing me!! It's mostly my glutes that feel the pain and let me tell you, it's a fight to get two sets of 8 done. A couple of shoulder exercises, some core work (I'm up to 35 seconds on the plank!), stretching and I was done.

Glenn was there (gym guy from yesterday, I learned his name) and had looked at my blog since yesterday. He was so sweet, told me my blog is inspiring and was as enthusiastic as he could have been for me. I loved it. You never know where your support is going to come from. A little bit here, a little bit there - soak it in. I used to be one of those people that would say, "oh, it's no big deal, I've only lost 3 pounds so far," or something dismissive. I try not to do that. I try to take in positive feedback, positive energy, in all aspects of my life, wherever it's coming from.

That kind of reminds me of an article I read today, How Gym Attitude Affects Your Exercise Habits. I found this part particularly interesting:
"Overweight individuals had a greater belief that exercise would lead to improved appearance and self-image."
What's that about? Why a greater belief than non-overweight people? I wonder if it's about believing our being fat is the source of our struggles and that if we weren't fat anymore everything would be better. I don't know, it's interesting and I'm sure I'll be rolling it over in my mind for a couple days. The mental part of being overweight is interesting. For years I believed that if I just had enough therapy and figured everything out the weight would just go away. Well, I came to believe the weight was a physical manifestation of my psychological desire to protect myself (duh, right?). And maybe that was true but figuring it out didn't make the weight go away. Maybe the insight freed me up to actually follow my goals but it's not that simple. I didn't have an Aha! moment and then run to the gym. My point is, addressing the psychological aspects of extra weight is important but you don't have to wait until you have it all figured out to get moving. I admit I don't know where I'm going with this but, well, it's a blog and I'm musing.

Back to exercise - what I'm really looking forward to is the weekend when I can hopefully have a couple of nice, long gym sessions. The gym is closed on Monday (4th of July) and I'm planning to walk in our town parade with my mom's club so exercise might be tough to squeeze in. You might remember I did this two years ago. My blog entry from that 4th has pictures. Marek was only 4 months old. It looks like I never posted a picture from last year, I was pregnant with Myra in that one. Anyway, maybe, if it's not too hot, I can do something outdoors while the kids nap or after they go to bed. Whatever happens I hope to have lots of good fun and, more importantly, to blog about it :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Diet Thinking

Another day in the bag. Wednesday is my day home with the kids and I had a nice time hanging out with them. I'm noticing I can do a little more in the roughhousing department before I get tired out. I had Marek cracking up with joy today, it was sweet. Miguel got home early and, somewhat reluctantly, gave his approval on my going to the gym. At one point while I was getting ready Marek started having a meltdown, screaming, "No go to the gym! Mommy no go to the gyyyym!" Wow, I don't know what that was about but I snuggled with him a bit and he seemed to get over it and I left without any fanfare.

Miguel was tired so I knew this was going to be an hour, max. I did the bike, level 2, for 25 minutes. Then I did chest and triceps, mixing core work in as I went. I love chest days, for some reason chest is one of my favorite areas to exercise. After weight lifting I stretched and was on my way out when I got chatting with the gym staff. One thing I like about this gym (among many) is that I see the staff working out and taking classes. It's really cool, makes it feel more congenial and welcoming somehow. One guy recently lost 45 pounds and looks great so that's inspiring too. Anyway, the owner was telling me about a body sculpting class and a "hot hula" class that will be starting. Hot hula - sounds interesting. More to come on that perhaps. The guy that lost the weight (I need to find out his name, update: It's Glenn) said, "You're on a mission, I can tell," and asked if I'd already lost some weight. Yes! I am all about the positive feedback!! I left the gym feeling super.

So I made a rookie mistake tonight. For dinner I cooked chile verde in the slow cooker. I trimmed the pork shoulder and added onions, tomatillos, bell pepper and spices. It cooked all day and when Miguel got home I said we could either make tacos or have nachos. It's been years since we've had nachos and, of course, he opted for those. I made a plate for each of us and, without much thought, made my plate based on my appetite a couple months ago and not on my appetite now. The nachos were so good and I ate them fairly quickly. By the time I was almost finished I was feeling *really* full. Too full; I had overeaten. I had some thoughts earlier in the day about eating nachos and debated if it was a bad idea. But I did a little self talk and reminded myself I can eat things like that now and again. But after eating too much I was really feeling bad about eating nachos. Even though I'd already gone to the gym I started thinking maybe I should go on an evening walk to balance out the nachos. A little back and forth in my head and I decided this was diet thinking.

Diet thinking is short term. When I'm thinking like a dieter I worry about the effects of one meal. But I'm not on a deadline to lose weight, this isn't a race, and, most importantly, I'm not doing this temporarily. If all that is true then I don't need to do something extraordinary (and I do consider going on a walk after I've already been to the gym extraordinary) to mitigate the effects of one meal. I made a mistake, I ate too much. I recognized it pretty quickly and I need to learn from it and move on. Though I am skipping my normal nighttime routine of mini-peppermint patties and a glass of milk, that doesn't seem too extraordinary.

Have I not mentioned the peppermint patties and milk? It started when I was pregnant with Myra and became a nightly routine. One that I sometimes looked forward to all day. And when I was really feeling like indulging I'd buy vanilla ice cream and stir cut up peppermint patties into it. Yummmmy. PPs fall into a sweet spot for me - good enough to be a real treat but not so good that I eat the whole bag in two days. Most days I have a serving, three mini PPs (150 calories) and a glass of milk. The ice cream days are over, that's taking it too far. Ok, I have to stop writing about them since I'm skipping them tonight.

So diet thinking - it's hard not to think that way sometimes, especially when some restricting balancing is appropriate at times. Agh! Sometimes all this awareness is too much. But mostly it isn't and I have learned so much and come so far by analyzing my automatic reactions, I don't think I'll stop anytime soon. Ok, it's late and I'm off to bed. I hope you all had as good a day as I did!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Can You Do in an Hour?

Squeezing the gym into my life is not what it used to be. Some gym days, especially on the weekend, I can take a little more time but more often than not I have to get in and out in an hour. In the past I thought I had to do 45 minutes of cardio for it to even "count". Ha! Those days are over. So, what do I do when I have an hour? Well, the breakdown is roughly 25-30 minutes of cardio, 20-25 minutes of weight training and 5-10 minutes of stretching. Today I did the following:

30 minutes: Cardio, today was Couch to 5k (Week 1, Day 5)
I use Robert Ullrey's podcast
20 minutes: Weight training, today was Back and Biceps
2 sets of 10-12 bicep curls while standing on the bosu
2 sets of 8 back extensions
2 sets of 10 lat pulldowns
2 sets of 10 seated rows
2 sets of 35 second planks
2 sets of 10 incline seated knee lifts
1 set of captains chair straight leg lifts
10 minutes: Stretching
Stretching is really important to me. I notice a big difference in feeling stiff and tight when I don't stretch and I think as I age flexibility (and balance) will become more and more important.
There you have it, an hour at the gym. One thing to note is that when I'm doing weight training I will often squeeze a set of ab work (plank, knee raises, etc) between sets of another exercise for efficiency's sake. I rarely do them back to back on their own. By the time I finish all my non-ab work I've usually squeezed all the ab work in already. And stretching, it's very tempting to cut stretching when you're pressed for time but I really feel like that's a mistake.

As far as calories go I wear my heart rate monitor during my time at the gym and that usually tells me I've burned 400-475 calories in that hour. Not bad! I talk to women that think they should just do tons of cardio and burn tons of calories to lose weight. Not weight training is a major loss. I think of cardio as an investment in your weight loss for the time you are doing it and for a couple hours after but weight training is an investment in your weight loss 24 hours a day. I think more women need to know about the relationship between increased muscle mass and increased calorie burning - even while you sleep! And the idea that we are going to get "muscular" or bigger because of larger muscle mass scares some women too. It's too bad because I am convinced that weight training was what finally led me to be able to lose weight without doing an hour+ of cardio 6 days a week!

So back to the time issue - the main difference in my routine when I have more time is that I do 3 sets of everything, I probably rest a tad longer between sets, I might throw in an extra exercise or two (maybe 15 extra cardio minutes on another machine and a different weight training thing that I don't normally do), and I spend more time stretching. But honestly, that hour feels like enough, I don't feel like I'm missing out when I can't stay longer, which is nice.

So I went to the gym yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday), yay me!! Since I went on Sunday I guess I've met my goal for this week already. It doesn't much matter though, I'll get to the gym as many days as I can. I'm gonna keep stoking the fire that is my momentum!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Resisting the Scale

I had a great weekend, I really did. I went on an inspiring ride on Saturday and then I rode to the gym and had a nice workout. Today I had a fun morning with the kids, my mom came over and we played in the kiddie pool with the kids. This afternoon Miguel stayed home while I went to the gym during the kids' nap. I did c25k, Week 1 Day 4. I decided to repeat Week 1 a second time, especially since I've started cycling again. I don't want to push myself too hard. After the treadmill I did some weight training, chest and triceps, and then enjoyed a lot of stretching. The gym is so nice when I'm not under a crazy time crunch. I did 3 sets of everything instead of two and I got in all my stretches and held them for 10-15 seconds each.

I think anyone would agree this was a good weekend. I came home and showered and somehow the scale popped into my head. I was tempted to weigh myself. My unmonitored thoughts went something like this, "I've had such a good weekend, I must have lost some weight. I could weigh myself to find out." It's as if I was looking to the scale to prove or disprove my good weekend was really "good".

That's when my higher brain kicked in and challenged the idea that the scale is somehow the arbiter of good vs bad. What if I'm heavier today than I was on Friday, does that mean my good weekend wasn't real? What if I lost three pounds, does that confirm it? I have an ax to grind with the scale in this regard. It's just so tempting to see those numbers as having much more meaning than they do. It's really not about the numbers. I mean, it's true, they are one way to measure your progress toward the goal of weight loss. But those numbers do not measure your progress toward other goals, like making lifestyle changes that will really last a lifetime. The scale doesn't measure the changes in your body, like your blood pressure going down or your heart getting stronger. Heck, the scale doesn't know if you had a salad with grilled chicken for dinner instead of making chocolate chip cookies and eating 5 of those for dinner. The scale just gives you one piece of raw data. The thing about raw data is that it is only part of the story. Alright, I'll end my rant now.

So I didn't weigh myself. And I'm glad I didn't. I know I had a good weekend and the scale, either up, down or sideways, will not be asked to give its opinion on that. Besides, I don't trust those scales. They lie.

I want to close with a picture from Saturday's ride. I wanted a more action-like picture but with the chaos that day I was happy to have this one to share. Do I still look cool? :)

Hope you all had a great weekend too!!